Review: N-Dubz ****

A FLAMBOYANT hip hop trio from London’s Camden Town, N-Dubz are massive, and about to go stratospheric – at least Tulisa is, as The X-Factor’s new judge.

But N-Dubz are not splitting, Dappy was keen to stress when they performed in Scarborough last Saturday, and he complimented Tulisa’s many outfit changes. Her wardrobe is super-glam, although N-Dubz likes to keep it real and ended their light-tastic and highly polished performance with an urban layers and trainers look, back to how it all started.

Their road to fame is the stuff of legend – a tough upbringing against a backdrop of gang culture, with cousins Tulisa and Dappy teaming with Fazer aged 13 to make music under the management of Dappy’s dad, Byron Contostavlos (formerly of Mungo Jerry).

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Their second album Against All Odds (2009) went platinum within two months, thanks to an instantly recognisable sound characterised by high-voltage yet thoughtful girl-boy rant songs such as Playing With Fire and Say It’s Over. The Scarborough arena (capacity 6,500) is hard to fill but N-Dubz nearly managed it. They rocked the place – no mean feat considering how far they were from most of the audience, making intimacy a real challenge. Fortunate, then, that Fazer, Dappy and Tulisa are larger-than-life characters.

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